Also known as the shingle plant, Monstera dubia is a member of the aroid family and it is related to the well-known Monstera adansonii and Monstera deliciosa.
However, the juvenile version of Monstera dubia (which is the form seen when the plant is housed indoors) looks very different from the Monstera plants most people are used to. These small, heart-shaped leaves have dark green and silvery-green coloration with no fenestrations (the iconic holes in the leaves).
The name “shingle plant” comes from the way Monstera dubia climbs up a surface. The leaves grow flat against the surface instead of hanging off the vine.
While these plants grow on trees in the wild, Monstera dubia owners like to showcase the unique climbing of the plant by securing it to a flat board. Wild Monstera dubia plants can grow over 10 feet tall. Given the right conditions, the plant can grow over 3 feet indoors.
|Botanical Name||Monstera dubia|
|Common Name||Shingle plant|
|Size||3 feet or more|
|Pet Friendly||No. Toxic|
Monstera Dubia Origin
Monstera dubia is native to Central and South America where it is found growing from the rainforest floor. The juvenile form of the plant will secure itself to the side of a tree and continue growing upwards towards the sunlight. Once the plant reaches the canopy and begins receiving direct sunlight, the leaves begin changing to their mature form. These mature leaves look like most Monstera varieties, with large fenestrations covering the uniformly green leaf.
These mature leaves are rarely seen in houseplants due to their growing conditions. Houseplants are typically kept too small and never receive direct sunlight.
How to Care for Monstera Dubia
Monstera dubia is not commonly found in garden centers or nurseries. Since it is a more rare plant, it is important to understand how to care for this plant before you purchase one. Especially because an established Monstera dubia can cost $100-$150 from an online seller.
If you have taken care of other Monstera varieties, you are in luck. For as different as this plant looks from its cousins, the care is nearly the same.
Light and Temperature
Monstera dubia loves bright, indirect light. A north-facing window can be a great location for this plant. While the mature version of Monstera dubia does well in direct sunlight, the more delicate juvenile leaves found on the houseplant can be damaged by intense, direct sunlight.
This is a tropical plant that will do best in warmer temperatures. Most houses are kept between 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a suitable range for Monstera dubia.
Water and Humidity
In addition to warm temperatures, the tropical wild habitat of Monstera dubia means it also enjoys high humidity. However, many plant enthusiasts have had success growing their shingle plants in normal room humidity.
If you live in a drier climate, you should artificially increase the ambient humidity for Monstera dubia. This can be accomplished through a couple of methods – running a humidifier, placing the plant on a pebble tray, or misting the leaves regularly.
Like all aroids, Monstera dubia should be watered when the top couple inches of soil are dry. This will help ensure that the plant is not being overwatered and putting the plant at risk for root rot or other infections. When you water, allow the soil to absorb plenty of water. All the excess water should be drained before moving the plant back to its location.
Soil and Container
Monstera dubia does well in a pot where it can put out strong roots to support the plant as it climbs. The size of the pot will be determined by the size of the plant. It is important to utilize a pot with a drainage hole to avoid suffocating the roots with too much moisture.
More important than the pot is the climbing structure that Monstera dubia will utilize to grow. An interesting way to showcase the flat growth of the leaves is to give your plant a flat board to grow up. A more traditional moss pole or trellis can also be used successfully.
Since this plant can fall victim to root rot when there is too much moisture in the soil, you should use a light, well-draining substrate mixture. One option for a good mixture is one part perlite, one part orchid bark, and one part peat moss. Keeping the soil loose and aerated will help the plant to grow strong, thriving roots.
Monstera dubia is a medium feeder. To give it all the nutrients it needs, use a liquid indoor plant fertilizer. This can be applied once a month during the growing season (spring and summer). To make sure the mixture is not too strong, dilute the fertilizer for the first couple of applications. If the plant begins to show signs of nutrient deficiency, you can move up to full-strength fertilizer.
When grown outdoors, Monstera dubia can grow beautiful pink blooms. However, to bloom, the plant needs to be in its mature form and have ample amounts of direct sunlight. Since these conditions are rarely met indoors, it is highly unlikely that the houseplant will produce flowers.
In general, Monstera dubia climbs up a structure using a single stem. This means that pruning is usually unnecessary unless you’d like to control the height of the plant. You can also remove any yellowing or dying leaves.
When pruning any plant, it is important to make sharp, clean cuts using a sterilized tool. This will help prevent an infection from spreading to the plant. If you do prune off healthy growth, this is a great time to propagate your Monstera dubia.
Since Monstera dubia can be a fairly slow grower, you should not need to repot frequently. Usually, you can go a couple of years between repotting your plant. Every plant is different though, so it is important to regularly check your plant.
Signs that it is time to repot your Monstera dubia include roots circling around the edge of the soil, roots starting to grow out of the drainage hole, and slow growth during the growing season.
To give your plant ample time to settle into a new pot, repot your Monstera dubia in the spring. During the growing season, the plant will have plenty of light and nutrients to establish strong roots in the new soil and continue growing.
Repot your plant by gently removing the plant from its old pot and shake off as much soil as possible. Put a couple of inches of airy, well-draining soil in the new pot. Place the Monstera dubia in the new pot and surround the roots with more soil. Be careful not to pat down the soil too densely, which can make it hard for the roots to grow.
Water thoroughly after repotting and keep the plant moist for the first week or two to help the plant adjust to the new container.
The high humidity that Monstera dubia loves can, unfortunately, attract common houseplant pests. One way to help mitigate this is to avoid overwatering, do not let water sit on the leaves, and make sure there is airflow around the plant.
Two pests frequently infect Monstera dubia plants: spider mites and scale.
Spider mites are actually attracted to a drier plant, so these pests are a risk if you are underwatering your plant. Spider mites are tiny insects that are usually hard to see with the naked eye. The first signs of infestation are thin webbing covering the plant and the plant’s health deteriorating.
To eradicate spider mites, first gently shower off your Monstera dubia. This will help remove many of the adult mites and add moisture to the plant. Treat the plant with neem oil or an indoor plant pesticide. Not all pesticides are effective against mites, so check the label before purchasing. You may need to treat your plant multiple times until all of the mites have been destroyed.
Scale is a sap-sucking insect that looks like hard, brown spots on the stem and leaves of the plant. The adult scale pests secure themselves into one location on the plant and remain there for the rest of their life. Since they are firmly attached to the plant, it can be harder to remove these pests.
Rubbing alcohol can kill scale. This can be applied to each insect using a cotton swab or misted over the plant. Neem oil or an insecticide should also be applied to kill juvenile scales and eggs.
Root rot is the enemy of most houseplant owners. Since the damage begins below the surface of the soil, it can be hard to catch in time to treat. Root rot commonly occurs due to overwatering, which allows the fungus to grow and attack the plant’s root.
Above the surface, root rot signs include deteriorating plant health and a mushy stem. Usually, these are signs of advanced infection.
If you are lucky enough to catch root rot early enough, you can remove the infected roots and stems. A diluted hydrogen peroxide solution can be used to disinfect the remaining parts of the plant. Repot the healthy plant in a new pot with new soil. As a precaution, a copper-based fungicide can be applied to the soil.
How to Propagate Monstera Dubia
Water propagation is the easiest way to propagate Monstera dubia. The ancestors of aroid plants lived in swamps, so these plants root well in water.
To propagate the plant, you will need to take a stem cutting. This will include at least one leaf (although more is better) and one node. The nodes are located where the leaves meet the stem. Place the stem cutting with the node in the water and the leaf out of the water. You will need to replace the water every couple of days to keep it fresh.
Within a couple of weeks, roots should begin forming. Once the roots are 1-2 inches in length, the cutting is ready to be planted in soil. Keep the soil moist and the humidity high for the first two weeks after planting to help the roots transition from water to the soil.
Frequently Asked Questions
The flashier Monstera varieties with large fenestrations tend to get all the attention in the houseplant world. They are on most houseplant bucket lists. However, Monstera dubia should be added to that list. Displaying these beautiful, flat leaves on a board is unique and deserves to be celebrated.
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